More than a quarter of shows have already been cancelled in the first three months of 2022, according to a snap industry survey by trade body LIVE.
The cancellations have resulted in a serious loss of income for the live music industry.
The industry has today repeated calls for a package of measures from the government following a devastating two years as a result of the pandemic. Vital support measures would include keeping the reduced rate of VAT on tickets, addressing the government insurance scheme and resolving roadblocks for transportation to enable tours to go ahead.
The impact of the Omicron variant on the live music industry over the Christmas and New Year period, including last-minute cancellations, resulted in organisers having to cancel or delay shows.
LIVE said that these cancellations have resulted in dramatic income loss for thousands of artists, production crew, freelancers, venues and supporting businesses. This comes after unprecedented losses throughout the pandemic.
A lack of public confidence, potential new restrictions and the possibility of further variants were all cited as the main causes of delays and cancellations of shows. Additionally, with the UK beginning to reopen but much of Europe remaining closed, the UK legs of international tours are at risk due to the lack of financial unviability of only touring the UK.
Brexit also remains a concern for the sector. The introductions of visas and punitive regulations on the trucks and vehicles that make touring possible is leading to 90% stating Brexit will negatively impact the live music industry once all markets are fully open again.
Greg Parmley, LIVE CEO, said: “Whilst it is great news that restrictions on live music venues will come to an end in much of the UK at the end of January, the live music industry is still facing serious challenges. The impact of the past two years has been catastrophic for the venues, artists, freelancers, and technical staff that power our £4.5 billion industry.
“It will take a long time for us to recover from the worst period in history of the industry and the government needs to fully understand the challenges we face. Whilst the UK is reopening many artists need international markets to fully reopen before touring can be financially viable.
“We are also encouraging the public to continue to support live music, whether that is seeing a new band at a small local venue or a big act in an arena, so that we can get through this difficult period together.”
The live music industry supports 210,000 full-time equivalent roles, as well as over 90,000 freelancers.